This is the second post in a series. You can read Part One here.
My blog follower (let’s call him George) gave me two new good ideas; switch my home to 100% renewables and turn in my Prius for an electric car.
I decided to start with renewable energy, do a little research, make some decisions, and voila, I’d be green. It couldn’t be that complicated, right?
George said I had two options; LADWP’s “green energy” program or Arcadia Power. I started with LADWP’s website. Wild goose chase. I couldn’t find “green energy” anywhere, so I sent an email to George. Help!
He sent me a link and this note.
I generally go to the web site and search for “green energy”. They don’t make it easy to find. This is part of the problem, even LADWP doesn’t know about this program, and they don’t seem to want anyone else to know. I even talked to mid-management LADWP employees who were completely unaware the program exists. I’ve tried to get them to publicize it, but there doesn’t seem to be any interest.
I clicked on the LADWP link. It said, “Customers who sign up for Green Power choose to have all, or a portion, of their electricity needs generated from renewable energy sources.” Then I was asked to fill in all of my vitals, but I wasn’t quite ready because I still didn’t really know what I was signing up for.
George’s email continued.
Another way to acquire clean energy is through a third party such as Arcadia Power. While LADWP charges three cents/kWh for the clean stuff, Arcadia charges 1.5 cents. You buy energy from them and LADWP delivers it to you. Either way, you will then be powering your home with clean energy.
Arcadia’s website is clear, well written and has great graphs. I love graphs. But Dan, another blog follower, wrote to tell me that they aren’t putting money into new wind farms only paying off the debt on old wind farms. Meaning what? So he sent me an article that explained it in great detail—or would have explained it if I could have understood a word they were saying.
I called Arcadia. They were very helpful. I asked a lot of questions. Apparently when you ‘switch’ to renewable energy, you aren’t actually switching, it’s more like you’re investing in a piece of a wind farm. Here’s how it works.
Arcadia Power isn’t your power provider. It can’t insure your home uses only renewable energy – the best way to do that is to install your own power source. Otherwise, the power still comes from your local utility’s electrical soup of coal, natural gas, wind and water.
Customers who sign up with Arcadia pay a small premium – about 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour of energy used. Arcadia then pays your local utility its share of the bill and uses the premium to invest in wind projects around the nation, with each investment theoretically offsetting the energy generated from coal, oil or gas.
Basically we’re “voting” with our money, sending a signal to utility companies to power our homes with renewable energies.
So, I just voted—I signed up for Arcadia Power. (I love the graphs—and the customer service).
This process took longer than I thought, was not as straightforward as I had hoped, and I would hardly say that I’m now green.
But hey, one step at a time.
I hope some of the leg work I did will make the process easier for you to take the next step. Let me know.
Stay tuned for Part Three: the electric car!!!!